MEP: The Iraq war veteran charged on Saturday by US authorities accused in a deadly shooting rampage at the Fort Lauderdale International Airport in Florida with offences that could carry the death penalty, while continuing to probe whether “terrorism” was a potential motive.
Esteban Santiago-Ruiz, 26, who killed 5 people and wounded 8 during a shooting rampage was charged by federal prosecutors. He was said to have mental health and potential terrorist links.
Friday’s shooting sent the airport terminal into chaos, with people running for cover. They started running again when rumors of more gunshots and a possible second shooter spread through the busy airport. Almost 40 others would get hurt in the rushed evacuation after the attack. Some suffered sprains and bruises; others had broken bones.
The suspect, who is in custody, told agents he had planned the attack and bought a one-way ticket to Fort Lauderdale, according to court papers.
Mr Santiago is said to have used a semi-automatic handgun that he apparently legally checked on a flight from Alaska.
Authorities said during a news conference that they had interviewed roughly 175 people, including a lengthy interrogation with the cooperative suspect, a former National Guard soldier from Alaska. Flights had resumed at the Fort Lauderdale airport after the bloodshed, though the terminal where the shooting happened remained closed.